“Young lady, you are every bit as beautiful as your mother was when she was your age,” the old man whispered, his tremulous voice a mere shadow of it’s former glory as one of the best tenors in the state.
The woman at his bedside held his hand tenderly, the wrinkly, pale, liver-spotted skin on it a far cry from her smooth and tanned one. At the compliment she gave his fingers a gentle squeeze, so as not to dislodge the i.v., and smiled. It was a half-hearted quirk of her pink, lip-glossed lips, and did nothing to stop the flow of tears that had long ago washed away her mascara and eye liner. She sniffled, her delicate nose dusted with freckles was red from crying and the tissue clutched in her other hand. The freckles also flared out beneath her sorrowful amber eyes and across sculpted cheek bones, though were found sparingly elsewhere. Her willowy frame and slender shoulders were hunched as if in pain, or perhaps from carrying the burden of his death alone.
“And you, granda, will have to give her my love when you see her again,” she murmered, her throat almost too tight to respond. She dropped the tissue and leaned over to stroke his short, wispy, white hair that had once been a match to her fiery red locks, which framed her graceful jawline in a layered bob. At her touch he smiled tremulously all the way up to his bright blue eyes. He took a breath in, and after it sighed out more gently than the rain on the hospital window, he did not draw another. In the end he’d died with the smile she’d loved all her life, and it was his last gift to her.